I teach at a therapeutic special education school serving approximately 82 students who have been unable to succeed in a general education setting due to intense emotional and behavioral needs. 100% of my students receive free lunch, making our school one of the highest poverty schools in the district. Some of our students are in foster care, experiencing homelessness, and nearly all have faced great struggles in their lives. Our school is located in an old warehouse, but I am determined to help my students reach beyond their current circumstances, with the hope of them eventually returning back to their neighborhood schools and into the general education environment.
It is often very heartbreaking to teach children as young as five who have already been pulled out of their neighborhood schools to attend a school for at-risk children with mental health issues and severe behavioral problems due to trauma.
However, because my students are so young, I am confident that my classroom can steer their behavior and academics in the right direction.
Despite so many hardships, my students are incredible children with boundless potential. Most of them have faced difficult home lives and traumas that greatly affect their behavior.
Because we are in a behavioral school, improving mental health is a huge part of our curriculum. Our students even receive 30 minutes of instruction from a mental health practitioner each day to learn positive social skills. For them to be healthy and have good mental health, we need to have fidgets for them to play with when they are feeling stressed or anxious.
The fidgets will help relieve anxiety, allow those with ADHD with to burn excess energy, and calm them down during times of big emotions.
When my students are feeling upset, they can grab a fidget to work with to calm down. We work a lot on mental health at our school, and while the lessons are great, it is the little moments during the day that really help our students improve. For example, if we are having a reading lesson and a student becomes frustrated, he can grab one of these fidgets to calm himself down before the behavior escalates. Most of the intense behaviors in my classroom often start over small frustrations or anxiety. These fidgets will greatly help with this!
Nearly all of my students have ADHD, so these fidgets will help them burn off excess energy. We don't have a great outdoor play space for our students to go to for recess, and especially in the Minnesota cold, our students are often stuck inside. They need as many items as possible to help get the wiggles out! This will help greatly with their behaviors!
The fidgets can be used all day-during reading math, recess, science, etc. They are small, convenient, and easy for the students to take with them when they are feeling upset. They can even take them to classes like music and art!
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